MAPLE GROVE, Minn. — The cancer journey for many is truly a marathon, but for a 9-year-old girl from Maple Grove it's turned into an Ironman competition... with a heart transplant looming at the finish line.
To get there, she needs to fight, and she's got quite the team pulling for her...
“It truly takes a village and we're calling upon our village and we're grateful,” says Andrea Wagner, Megan’s mother.
It took 9-months, but Megan Wagner beat osteosarcoma. It took eighteen rounds of intense chemotherapy. She also had surgery to remove a tumor and save her right leg.
Not for the faint of heart. But now, Megan's heart 'is' the problem.
“I hope someday no other parent will have to hear that your child has heart failure because of the old chemo therapy products we had to use because there's nothing better at this time,” says Megan's dad Matt.
The very drugs that saved Megan, damaged her heart and she needs a transplant. But that can't happen until she's cancer-free for one year and strong enough to survive the surgery.
“She whispered to Matt, I'm not ready to die, so we know she's got a lot of fight left in her and we'll do that with her,” says Andrea.
And Andrea and Matt are not in this ordeal alone.
“For whatever reason I was just drawn to her she's got an incredible spirit,” says Heather Fleck.
Heather Fleck, her husband P.J. and the Gopher football team have rallied around Megan and her family, starting with linebacker Thomas Barber and four-time osteosarcoma survivor Casey O'Brien, who calls Megan Wonder Woman.
“He gives her a sense she can be a survivor and she can do anything as well,” says Matt.
This isn't one visit and done. Megan is family.
“Thomas Barber and Casey jump right in bed and Casey literally lying in bed with her and I can't even lay in bed and he just jumps right in,” says Andrea. They bring so much joy and so much, so much love.”
“A lot of time I get in my car and my heart breaks for them and I cry, and I feel terrible, it gives me perspective,” says Heather Fleck.
All who visit Megan walk away with a bit of perspective. Life is not always fair, and those lessons can be hard to watch. It can take a village to get through it and in Megan's case, that village is wearing Maroon and Gold
“They'll always be our heroes and no matter what they do on the field we know they're true winners,” says Andrea.
Megan had heart valve surgery recently and they're hoping that will help her get stronger and ready for a transplant down the road.